Interpersonal and intrapsychic adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: a mixed blessing?

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1998 May;74(5):1197-208. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.74.5.1197.


Reactions to trait self-enhancers were investigated in 2 longitudinal studies of person perception in discussion groups. Groups of 4-6 participants met 7 times for 20 min. After Meetings 1 and 7, group members rated their perceptions of one another. In Study 1, trait self-enhancement was indexed by measures of narcissism and self-deceptive enhancement. At the first meeting, self-enhancers made positive impressions. They were seen as agreeable, well adjusted, and competent. After 7 weeks, however, they were rated negatively and gave self-evaluations discrepant with peer evaluations they received. In Study 2, an independent sample of observers (close acquaintances) enabled a pretest index of discrepancy self-enhancement: It predicted the same deteriorating pattern of interpersonal perceptions as the other three trait measures. Nonetheless, all self-enhancement measures correlated positively with self-esteem.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Deception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Narcissism*
  • Peer Group*
  • Personality Tests
  • Personality*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Desirability*
  • Time Factors